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Dub I by Jimmy Radway and The Fe Me Time All Stars

Dub I by Jimmy Radway and The Fe Me Time All Stars

Dub I by Jimmy Radway and The Fe Me Time All Stars

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Real sufferers dub from a man who suffered more than most.

Sampler

Dub I Pressure Sounds 2008

Jimmy Radway’s anguished emotive early seventies productions on his Fe Me Time and Capricorn labels deserve to be as highly regarded as those of his contemporaries Niney and Bunny Lee. Thankfully, Pressure Sounds have selected him for re-evaluation with a reissue of his 1975 album Dub I. It’s a strong set of versions to his classic sides on these imprints by Leroy Smart, Errol Dunkley, Big Youth, Desmond Young and others including 5 bonus tracks.

Radway first got into music when hanging around Coxsone’s studio during the birth-pangs of ska. But as a youth in West Kingston he had to juggle his interests in painting and music with the political warfare that was springing up all around him. Dub I feels like a harsh reminder of the sorrow, confusion and violence that dogged this one-legged ghetto leader’s eventful life. Rough sounding horns and hi-hats are given the full echo treatment, the bass has an almost greasy consistency, and the familiar shuffle organ work of the period chatters with an urgency both disturbing and compelling in equal measure. The engineer for the project was none other than Errol Thompson of Randy’s and Joe Gibbs renown.

As well as dank harrowing dubs to 7” monsters such as Dunkley’s Black Cinderella, Young’s ponderous yet powerful Warning, and Smart’s Mother Liza and Mirror Mirror, there’s also an overdub on Glen Brown’s Slaving rhythm entitled Wicked Have To Feel It. So distinctive is Radway’s sound that neither this cut nor the bonus material (including the flip to Smart’s immense Happiness Is My Desire) feel out of place.

Radway’s decision to get out of the business when he did cost his legacy dearly: by 1996 he was down on his luck living in Ocho Rios, unable to afford a mobile phone. He has never stopped writing songs and is now reputed to be working on some new music using Kingston musicians. Let’s hope that the revival of interest in his work leads to further acclaim and financial reward.

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